Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Stern recently ruled that ex-Baldwin Park police chief, Lili Hadsell, can bring her workplace discrimination case to trial.
The lawsuit alleges that Hadsell was fired because of her gender.
Judge Stern said that a jury will now decide whether Hadsell was subjected to retaliation, gender discrimination and harassment at work. Stern also claims that while Hadsell's case is "politically charged," he was not convinced by defense attorneys that there weren't triable matters at hand.
Hadsell Allegedly Faced Gender Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation
Hadsell was appointed Baldwin Park police chief in 2008 and had worked for the city since 1999. The lawsuit alleges that shortly after being appointed, Hadsell was victimized and "paraded around as a prop" so that the city could celebrate their accomplishment of hiring a police chief who happened to be female.
City Councilmember & Coworker Both Undermined Hadsell
Additionally, Hadsell says that City Councilman Ricardo Pacheco undermined her in front of her colleagues and subordinates when he claimed to them that a female could not handle a police chief position. According to Hadsell, one of Pacheco's discriminatory statements was, "I believe the only police work Hadsell did was on her knees to get promoted through the ranks."
On December 10, 2013, Hadsell was terminated from her position. Captain Michael Taylor then took her place. Hadsell's lawsuit alleges that Taylor and Pacheco "worked in concert to harass and discredit" her while she was holding the role as police chief.
Hadsell also said that prior to her landing the job, Taylor was believed to be the choice for police chief due to his many years of service with the Baldwin Park Police Department, but that he had been out of the country when she was appointed. Because of her knowledge of this, Hadsell claims that on the night she was appointed the role, she sent an email to Taylor to let him know that she had been appointed. She allegedly apologized to him since the situation occurred while he was away. "I reiterated that I hoped we would be able to work together as we had so well as captain and lieutenant. Taylor never responded to the email," Hadsell says.
But when Taylor came home from his trip, Hadsell said that he wouldn't speak to her or even make eye contact.
Hadsell also claims that during the beginning months of her landing the role of police chief, that she "received a lot of attention from the community for being the first female Latina chief of police."
Both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit discrimination and harassment in employment due to one's gender.
Hadsell's lawsuit is scheduled for trial on September 6, 2016.
Story adapted from Ex-Baldwin Park Police Chief's Sexual Discrimination Suit Can Move Forward, Judge Rules via Patch.com
Sex and Gender Discrimination in California: For Further Reading
- Examples of Gender Discrimination in California: EEOC Cases
- The California Fair Employment and Housing Act
- Sex-Based Discrimination via EEOC.gov
- Sex and Gender Harassment at Work: What California Employees Should Know
If you are facing gender discrimination or retaliation in California, you may be able to file a claim against your employer for these unlawful behaviors. Contact an expert Los Angeles employment attorney at Hennig Ruiz for your free consultation today.